Americans to Place $10.1 Billion in Illegal March Madness Bets

Americans will place around $10.4 billion in bets on this year’s March Madness, an infographic presented by the American Gaming Association shows. The figure represents a 13% rise from last year, when the amount of $9.2 billion was estimated to have been wagered.

According to the AGA, 97% of all stakes will be placed illegally. Nevada is the only place in the US where sports betting is currently legal. The gaming association has estimated that only $295 million of all NCAA bets will be placed at the state’s sports books. With that said, the remaining $10.1 billion will be wagered through black market offshore websites and illegal land-based bookmakers.

This year’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, informally referred to as the March Madness, is set to kick off today with New Orleans playing against Mount St. Mary’s to determine the team that will progress to the round of 64 as a No. 16 seed.

The AGA and other supporters of the idea for a legalized US sports betting industry have become particularly vocal against the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), a 1992 law prohibiting the provision of sports betting offering within the nation’s borders. For quite some time now, the association has been providing arguments for the exponential growth in demand for legal sports gambling offering.

According to the AGA and other concerned parties, the US loses billions of dollars each year to unauthorized betting operators, money that can go to state and federal coffers. Among other things, the gaming industry association has been lobbying for the PASPA to be amended in a manner that would remove the federal ban on sports betting and would leave it to individual states to legalize sports betting.

The AGA has recently provided another infographic to support its cause. The association estimated that American would bet $4.7 billion on Super Bowl LI, which saw the New England Patriots defeat the Atlanta Falcons and become the 2016 season National Football League champion. According to the data presented in the infographic, $4.5 billion of all Super Bowl bets were placed illegally.

Many saw the election of former casino tycoon Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States as long-anticipated light at the end of the sports betting tunnel. Back in the years when President Trump was a big name on the US land-based casino scene, he was also among those to spot the potential of legal sports betting. However, even if his administration gives consideration to the nation’s obsolete betting laws, it may and will probably take years before any significant progress is made.

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